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Will the UK experience another wave of Covid this summer? – Expert complaint | UK | New UK News

Coronavirus cases have now exceeded 4.3 million and more than 127,000 people have died, according to government figures. More than 33 million people in the UK have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine, with a total of 10.7 million people fully vaccinated. A scientist and member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) warned Britons they could see a ‘summer wave’ as lockdown restrictions are relaxed, despite the cautious roadmap set by the Prime Minister Minister Boris Johnson.

The government’s roadmap to freedom or “the new normal” will see the last of the remaining restrictions lift on June 21.

The next lockdown stage will take place on May 17, when people will be able to gather in groups of no more than 30 and indoor gatherings will be allowed.

From that point on, other openings including international travel, hotels and domestic entertainment venues will also be allowed.

After more than a year with some form of restriction, people should see all legal limits, including social distancing, lifted on June 21, as long as all four qualifying criteria are met.

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But a leading scientist has said Britons should be prepared for another wave of coronavirus following this latest step in easing the lockdown.

Professor Adam Finn, of the University of Bristol and a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), said the Prime Minister was right when he said the UK would see a new wave of coronavirus case.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said: ‘We do not yet know the full extent of the protection we are building or the exact strength of our defenses – and as we examine what is happening in other countries with cases now recorded. numbers across the world, we can’t kid ourselves that Covid is gone.

“I don’t see anything in the data now that makes me think we’re going to have to deviate in any way from the cautious but irreversible roadmap that we have established.

“But the majority of scientific opinion in this country is still firmly convinced that there will be another wave of Covid at some point this year and therefore we must – as far as possible – learn to live with this disease, as we live with. other diseases. “

Professor Finn endorsed this prospect, reminding Britons of the vulnerability of the UK’s position in its fight against COVID-19.

He told BBC Breakfast: “I’m afraid he’s right, yes.

“The models we have seen on JCVI clearly indicate a summer increase in cases as the lockdown is relaxed as there are still many people in the adult population who have not been vaccinated and will therefore start transmitting the infection. between each other. “

Professor Finn added; “If people take it too far too fast, we’ll see it start sooner.

“The feeling that the problem is over, I’m afraid, is flawed. We are still in a vulnerable situation, and there are still a significant number of people who could potentially be harmed by this infection if it occurs. “

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The size of the next wave depends on “how quickly vaccine deployment continues, vaccine supply, etc., and how many people show up for the vaccine, and it also depends on the behavior of people. people as the lockdown gradually loosens, ”according to Professor Finn.

He added that raising restrictions is a “balancing act” and may need to be amended if it proves ineffective in tackling Covid.

Professor Finn said: “People want to have some sort of certainty and businesses want to know how to plan, but on the other hand, I think it was always presented as a tentative schedule, based on what is actually going on. .

“I think if we start to see significant increases in cases in some parts of the country, they may need to push those dates back in order to prevent the situation from taking effect.”

“It’s a little difficult to be specific about this because, by definition, it’s uncertain.”

Martin Michaelis, professor of molecular medicine at the University of Kent, also said he did not think COVID-19 “would suddenly go away”.

He said it could take until 2022 or 2023 for life to take significant steps towards the way things were before Covid.

Professor Michaelis told “It will be until 2022, if not 2023, before a substantial fraction of the world’s population is vaccinated.

“In the meantime, there will be a continued risk that new variants will be introduced, which are not covered by available vaccines or the immunity provided by infections with previous viral strains.

“In addition, the protection provided by vaccines and past infections will most likely diminish over time.

“Therefore, COVID-19 numbers will need to be closely monitored, also after all formal restrictions are removed.”

The virologist and molecular medicine expert added that the government predicted “spikes in COVID-19 will spread with every easing stage” – predicting more than 30,000 more Covid-related deaths.

Professor Michaelis said: “The magnitude of these peaks and the need to delay easing steps or reintroduce restrictions will depend on our behavior and whether new variants emerge or are imported.

“Without formal restrictions, it will not be a world without COVID-19, and we will have to follow distancing rules (hands, space, face and fresh air) for the foreseeable future.

“We will be allowed to do what we want to do and meet with who we want to meet, but this will have to be in a responsible manner that minimizes the risk of transmission of COVID-19.”

The expert added that urgent preparation was needed for another wave, as early identification and rapid universal action could have eradicated the virus in just six or eight weeks.

Professor Michaelis told “There must be a plan for foreclosure measures that don’t automatically cripple our economy.

“Ideally, there should be a global surveillance system that allows for the early identification of pandemic pathogen candidates and an immediate response.

“If the whole world had entered a strict six to eight week lockdown when COVID-19 was discovered in 2019, it likely could have been eradicated for good.”

He added: “In a way, we will have to learn what we can do without causing further COVID-19 spikes or even waves.

“If the situation gets out of hand, restrictions will have to be reintroduced and we will have to learn to do better.”

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This notice was published: 2021-04-21 21:29:00